Come the ber months, everybody counts down the days until the jolly month of December, which is the most exciting time for Filipino families. Loved ones come back home, dear friends gather after such a long time, and nights are filled with laughter and good food. Some though, get excited about a different cause. Travelling during the Christmas holidays isn’t new for many Filipinos. In fact, some have made this a tradition in their families or even as a couple.
However, as a family-oriented nation, it’s usually difficult to entertain the idea of being away from your extended family and missing out on annual gatherings for the sake of travelling out of the country. And for these reasons, many refuse to travel on Christmas. So why do so many of us do it anyway? Is it really a good idea? Let’s see if we can shed some yuletide light on this issue.
When it’s a good idea
1. You’re with great company
Not good. Great. And travel is indeed more fun when you’re with the ones you love. As long as you’re with them in another country, missing reunions and other Filipino festivities back home is worth it. You may be far away in Japan, Europe, or Australia, but the memories you’ll make in these destinations, on Christmas no less, will be priceless and may even be once in a lifetime. You can have your own celebrations with different kinds of food on the table, watch an even vibrant light show at the city square, and observe how other nationalities celebrate Christmas. It’s a unique adventure, and you can all experience it together.
2. You’re travelling to a dream destination
If you’re a passionate traveller, is there anything better than travelling to your dream destination? Well, there is, and that’s travelling to the said country — on Christmas! Usually, we Filipinos opt to fly to colder destinations this time of year, and we can’t blame each other for this, given the kind of climate we have year ‘round. So we go for places where we can experience winter or snow, something many Filipino travellers often get excited about.
But if you’re not necessarily going to a colder country, you still have the opportunity to witness how other nationalities celebrate Christmas. Some countries celebrate it grander while others treat it as a fleeting season. Nevertheless, it’s part of the culture, and you ought to be happy experiencing a different kind of holiday there.
3. You’re travelling for a cause
Maybe you’re travelling on Christmas because you’re “volun-touring” in another country. Nothing says giving back like going out of your comfort zone to learn more about how to make the world a better place. There are plenty of avenues for you to do so. Take WWOOF-ing for example. It’s basically a program where you can get free meals and lodging from farmers in exchange for manpower in their farm so that you can help build a sustainable global community while promoting agricultural experiences. On top of that, you can pursue your exploration of the locality on your days off.
4. You have relatives to see abroad too
One of the best reasons (or excuses) to buy a plane ticket on Christmas is visiting relatives living abroad. You might be leaving the Philippines behind for the holidays, but you’re bringing the party to your aunts, uncles, and cousins you haven’t seen in forever. Who says you have to miss pancit, adobo, and kare-kare on Christmas when you’re overseas? In a Filipino household, you’ll get all of that and more. Cue the karaoke and pasalubongs from tiangges.
5. Everyone’s ready emotionally and financially
You’ve given a heads up to your relatives at home and you’ve saved up for it. Ergo, you won’t feel guilty about leaving your loved ones on Christmas since they had ample time to digest the fact that you’ll be gone, and you won’t have to struggle with the expenses either. More importantly, you have psyched yourself up for everything you might miss out on in exchange for everything else you can gain in this out-of-country trip. So when your talkative tita starts to tell you about all the lechon and games you’re gonna miss while you’re away, it’ll barely have any bearing on your clear conscience.
When it’s a bad idea
1. It’s spontaneous
You think you can pull off a spontaneous trip overseas on Christmas? Save that for when you’re financially comfortable and tolerant of the coldest temperatures of the year. Because when you have to dig deep into your pocket just to fit everything in your budget, that’s a clear sign that you ought to rethink a spontaneous trip. Sure, winter can be fun but it can also rear its ugly head when you don’t come mentally and physically prepared. And wherever you’re spontaneously going, we can only hope that you convinced someone to come along with you, because who wants to spend Christmas alone so far from home?
2. You’re still hesitant days leading up to your trip
Let’s say you’ve actually prepared for a Christmas trip outside the country. Budget, check. Passport, check. Family’s permission, check. But somehow, there’s a voice inside you that’s telling you to hold your horses. Somehow, despite all your prepping, you’re still torn if you really want to go through it or not. If you can’t shake off this hesitation, don’t. Maybe travelling overseas on Christmas is really not for you, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you can’t bring yourself to sacrifice all the fun reunions, delicious lechon, and Filipino Christmas songs, stay at home with family and friends. Traveller or not, home is where your heart is, and we all deserve to feel at home on Christmas.
3. You’re prone to sepanx
If you easily get separation anxiety on simple trips away from your loved ones, what makes you think being away from them on Christmas is going to be easier? Even if there’s an adventure waiting for you in a foreign land, Christmas is going to suck if you’d rather be with the people you left back home. Travelling with your parents and siblings abroad can help in this scenario, but even then, you might feel the severe sepanx once you think about your lola in the Philippines who usually prepares your favourite lumpia on Noche Buena (no one else has the secret recipe!). Or you might suffer from FOMO when you hear that the cousins you haven’t seen in months are playing board games with each other in that big family reunion you’re missing. How will travelling bring the Christmas cheer to you now when you only feel #sepanx?
4. Solo travelling for the heck of it
Honestly, there’s a better time to schedule your solo travelling than in a season when airfares hike up. Remember, you have no one to split expenses with too. On Christmas, that just sounds more lonely than independent.
5. Your leaves can’t cover the trip
You may have gotten that Christmas bonus, but your leaves are nowhere to be found. In that case, would you be willing to take an LWOP? #adulting
As Christmas approaches, so do our holiday plans, whether that’s staying home or flying out. Have you made up your mind on what you’re going to do for the holidays? Whatever it is, make sure you won’t be lonely!